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War, Migration and the Origins of the Thai Sex Industry

Author

Listed:
  • Brodeur, Abel

    () (University of Ottawa)

  • Lekfuangfu, Warn N.

    () (Chulalongkorn University)

  • Zylberberg, Yanos

    () (University of Bristol)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the determinants behind the spatial distribution of the sex industry in Thailand. We relate the development of the sex industry to an early temporary demand shock, i.e., U.S. military presence during the Vietnam War. Comparing the surroundings of Thai military bases used by the U.S. army to districts close to unused Thai bases, we find that there are currently 5 times more commercial sex workers in districts near former U.S. bases. The development of the sex industry is also explained by a high price elasticity of supply due to female migration from regions affected by an agricultural crisis. Finally, we study a consequence induced by the large numbers of sex workers in few red-light districts: the HIV outbreak in the early 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Brodeur, Abel & Lekfuangfu, Warn N. & Zylberberg, Yanos, 2017. "War, Migration and the Origins of the Thai Sex Industry," IZA Discussion Papers 10686, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10686
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    sex industry; industry location; persistence; HIV/AIDS;

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • N15 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Asia including Middle East
    • J46 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Informal Labor Market
    • J47 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Coercive Labor Markets
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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